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How to complete the Couch to 5K challenge

How to complete the Couch to 5K challenge [2021]

Couch to 5k is designed for anyone who is getting into running and is an excellent template to follow. If you are taking up running it can seem like a monumental prospect especially if you feel unfit or out of shape.

NHS Couch to 5K will help you gradually work up towards running 5km in just 9 weeks

NHS Website

Riixo can help you further achieve your goals by forcing on your recovery. When you start running for the first time or after a break you will most likely experience some muscle soreness.

What is Couch to 5K?

Couch to 5K was developed Josh Clark, who wanted to help his 50-something mum get off the couch and running fit. So, it has been designed as a running plan for absolute beginners.  


The plan involves 3 runs a week over 9 weeks, varying between periods of running and walking building up your tolerance, strength and fitness.

What is the best way to start the couch to 5K?

By getting up and giving it a go. To ensure the best success at achieving your goal as well as preventing any injury we strongly recommend focusing on mobility and basic strength work at the same time.

Riixo Recovery Free 10-week running program

Download your free build up to running program that you can do at home or in the gym, at the same time.

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How does Couch to 5K work?

One of the most daunting challenges for any new runner is knowing where to start, how far to run and for how long. The NHS Couch to 5K program is like having your own personal coach telling you what to do and when.

Running is all about balance. You want to be able to run and feel good about it so you can get up and want to do it again. For that reason, you need to make sure that you don’t overdo it and become demoralised when you are just starting out.

Couch to 5K is a walk run program, meaning that it breaks down your training into periods of walking and running. This will gradually build up your fitness levels over a period of 9 weeks.

To give you an example Week 1 involves running for just a minute at a time. Helping you set personal and achievable goals to get you off the couch and into running.

Who is Couch to 5K for?

Couch to 5K is for everyone. It is designed to be easy to follow and with highly achievable goals, that you are in control of. Best of all Couch to 5K is a free and there is even a free app you can download.

Should my muscles ache after starting Couch to 5K?

You may find that your muscles, particularly your legs, may be a bit sore 24-72 hours after running. This is completely normal and, in fact, shows that you are starting to improve on your strength and fitness.

Delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) is a normal part of any exercise and happens when you increase the intensity and duration of your training.

You can read more on DOMS and how to reduce muscle soreness here.

Should I run after an injury?

If you have any help concerns then we always recommend speaking to your doctor or physiotherapist. They can help answer any questions and guide you in the right direction.

Doing anything after an injury can be daunting but as long as you have rested, recovered and done some rehabilitation work to improve strength and mobility then there should be nothing holding you back.


Our free program helps to build up your strength levels and prevent any injury reoccurrence.

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What are the benefits?

There are lots of benefits to getting into running. It is a great way to improve your physical fitness and a great stress reliever. Medical studies as far back as the 1970s have looked at running as a way to treat depression.

Physically running will;

  • improve the health of your heart and lungs
  • help you lose weight, even more, if you follow a healthy diet
  • help increase bone density in some people
  • help protect against bone diseases like osteoporosis

Read more to help your running recovery.

Why do my legs hurt after running?

How do I treat tight calves after running?

What causes shin splints?

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